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Port Gawler Council Chambers

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Fast Facts
Also known as: Old Two Wells Council Chambers
Town or Locality: Two Wells
Year constructed: c. 1859
By: Mr Ridgeway
Used for: Council
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In the South Australian Gazette on the 11th September 1856 the Governor of South Australia proclaimed the District Council of Port Gawler.

On the Thursday 23rd of September 1856 the first meeting of the Port Gawler Council was held at Native Wells. It was reported in the South Australian Register that those present at the meeting were Messrs. Pederick, Irish, Timby, Doudy and Grigg and Mr. J Grigg was elected Chairman of the District.

The Chairman received the tasks of writing to the Colonial Secretary with the request for the usual grants from Government for preliminary expenses, a copy of the District Council Acts and the license forms required for procuring timber and or slaughtering. The other matter which needed attention was obtaining the services of a Surveyor.

At the next meeting of the Council the appointment of Mr Peter Rowland as the Clerk was made with the salary of £5 per month from the 13th October 1856. A letter was read from Mr William Helmore who was applying to be appointed as the teacher at the Port Gawler School. A request was to be made to the Mudla Wirra Council to have the deeds of the Port Gawler School transferred to the Port Gawler Council. Other tasks were to order maps made for the district and ensure the authority of the Surveyor-General had been given for the fencing of the Reserve on Section 15. There is no mention where this Council meeting was held.

On Monday 2nd of March 1857 an annual meeting of ratepayers was held at the Two Wells Station for the election of Councillors. At the next meeting on the 16th March 1857 it was resolved that the Council make an application to the Government to seek portion of the Two Wells Station Reserve for use as a cemetery and for the building of a Council Chamber. It seems this request was not allowed because at a Council meeting on 18th June 1857 it was decided to make an offer to Mr Joseph Hodgson for a quarter of an acre of land to erect a Council Chamber.

It was not until the 11th of July 1859 that tenders were invited for the building of a Council Chamber and at the meeting on 25th August 1859 Mr Ridgeway’s tender for £49 was accepted. There appears a slowdown in activity and later it was recorded at the meeting on 30th July 1860 that Mr Bird’s tender for plastering and the installation of a ceiling was accepted. The data gathered has not made it clear of the location of the site of the Council Chamber. A later reference to the Chamber was made in the meeting on Monday 19th February 1862 where it was decided to purchase three forms and a table.

In the newpaper the South Australian Register Friday 11th October 1872 a report gives the following description of the Council building as room 14 feet by 16 feet with a stable. There was a fireplace and the nearest building was 100 yards away.

As well in the report Alfred Clode ,the District Clerk of the Port Gawler was charged with the embezzlement of monies of the District Council of Port Gawler. His financial accountability was explored along with the details of the deliberately lit fire in the cupboard of the Council building which had contained the file of receipts and cash and minute books.

At the 24th February 1873 meeting the District Council of Port Gawler decided to tender for cleaning ,painting, putting in a press and shelves in the Chamber which had been burnt. Also it was noted a letter was received from Mr Moulden, informing Council the Guarantee Society consented to pay £85 as compensation for A. Clode’s fraudulent deficiency.

The following quote from the newspaper affirms the first Council Chamber was sited in the Two Wells Cemetery.

On 24th November 1902 the Advertiser published “ November 22nd—Messrs, Shepley and Lockyer Bros, of Thebarton, the successful tenderers for the erection of a new Council Chamber at Two Wells commenced operations on Wednesday. This building will greatly improve the appearance of the town and will meet the requirements of the public far better than the old Council Chamber, which is situated in the cemetery grounds.”


  • The information was researched using the Trove web site of the National Library of Australia which makes available digitised newspapers .

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